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The Twelve Days of Bits-Mas!
Blu-ray Disc reviews by Jeff Kleist of The Digital Bits

Die Hard
1988 (2007) - 20th Century Fox
Released on Blu-ray Disc on November 20th, 2007.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder
1990 (2007) - 20th Century Fox
Released on Blu-ray Disc on November 20th, 2007.

Both titles are also available in the Die Hard Blu-ray Collection.

Die Hard (Blu-ray Disc)Die Hard 2: Die Harder (Blu-ray Disc)

Buy this DVD now at Amazon!Buy this DVD now at Amazon!

Film Ratings (Die Hard/Die Hard 2): A/B
Video Ratings (1-20 - Die Hard/Die Hard 2): 16/17
Audio Ratings (1-20 - Die Hard/Die Hard 2): 15/15
Extras (Both): B


DTS-HD MA

Chestnuts crackling on an open fire, sleigh bells ringing and... well, the chatter of machine guns... are all signs of the Christmas season for the McClane family. On two separate Christmas occasions, John McClane has battled terrorists who dared to interfere with his family's holiday cheer and annual figgy pudding allotment. Die Hard set a new standard for action in the 1980s, with nearly every lone wolf actioner after it being referred to as "Die Hard in/on a ______."

Like a lot of 80s catalog titles, the original Die Hard lives in a very flat world without a lot of color to it. The HD transfer here is good, but it's a bit grainy looking and a little beat up at times. Die Hard is a product of its age, and is probably a bit of a victim of its own popularity from overuse of the negative. Blacks are solid, and there's a good amount of new detail present on the Blu-ray, but like its contemporaries (think Predator and RoboCop) you might have to A/B it with the DVD to fully appreciate the difference. Die Hard 2 fares a little better thanks to its younger vintage and higher budget, though an over-reliance on mediocre model work and greenscreen effects does occasionally break the wall of fantasy a bit too often when put under the high-def magnifying glass. The DTS-HD Master Audio tracks, while probably sounding as good as they can, suffer from a somewhat gimmicky 5.1 remix. Split surrounds are occasionally heard, but far too often the dialog is drowned out by the overly aggressive music and sound effects, similar to the previous DVDs. If you have those, you know what you're getting into already.

No new extras were produced for the Blu-ray release of Die Hard, though retained from the DVD release are the audio commentary tracks, a text commentary, and the original newscasts shot for the movie that play on various TVs throughout the film. Missing is the "Cutting Room" feature (that allowed you to edit a scene together) and a multi-angle feature. Die Hard 2, on the other hand, keeps everything from previous DVD, including commentary, deleted scenes and EPK material.

Two Die Hards on Blu-ray might seem like an odd way to celebrate Christmas, but set as they are during the holiday season, they're classic examples of goofy 1980s action that never fail to entertain. So gather round the warm HDTV glow with your family, and enjoy some explosive Christmas cheer, McClane style.

Jeff Kleist
jeffkleist@thedigitalbits.com
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